(1972) A press statement from DARE(Direct Action for Rights in Employment) challenging the gender discrimination in Chicago's city budget. (Editors Note: Gender discrimination in Chicago city employment was rampant before the advent of the women's movement. The reigning Daley political machine was very adroit at fending off challenges, but organizations like the Chicago Women's Liberation Union(CWLU) and the National Organization for Women (NOW) were not easily brushed aside.)
On June 29 several aldermen end women and a coalition of women and labor groups presented a report documenting severe sex discrimination in city government employment practices. As a specific example of discrimination the report pointed out that city hall janitresses earned $1,000 less a year than the janitors . Over the past three months representatives of the coalition, after trying unsuccessfully to meet with the mayor, held a series of negotiating sessions with Ken Sain, the deputy mayor . One of our demands as that the categories of janitor and janitress be eliminated and replaced with a single neuter category with the minimum pay to be that which the janitors now receive . At our last meeting with Mr. Sain, he smilingly told us, "Compensation would be made in the 1973 budget."
Mr. Sain’s idea of compensation infuriates us . The job titles janitor and janitress were changed but not to a third category. Instead, janitor was changed to custodial worker and janitress to the demeaning title of custodial assistant. Now the women will not only be paid $1,000 less than the men, but will be given a job title which clearly implies subservience to male custodial workers. Where do the people who changed these job categories get their gall?
Once again City Hall has shown its contempt for its women employees. In the entire 1973 budget there are no pay raises for women except in consideration of longevity. This budget in an insult to the women of Chicago. In the budget hearings today we are going to demand that the phony classification of custodial assistant be changed to custodial worker.
Chicago Women’s Liberation Union
852 West Belmont
Chicago, Illinois 60657